Unique VSP Capabilities Which Were Not Noted in the Gartner reports

By Hubert Yoshida posted 12-18-2020 22:29


At the end of November this year, Gartner published their Magic Quadrant For Primary Storage Arrays and at the beginning of December they published their Critical Capabilities for Hybrid Array Storage Systems and their Critical Capabilities for Solid-State Arrays.

Hitachi VSP storage systems scored very well in all three reports. The Hitachi VSP arrays that were covered in these reports included the high performance VSP 5000 series, the all-flash VSP F Series, the hybrid VSP G series, and the VSP E990 all-flash arrays for midsize enterprise. The only VSP arrays that were not covered were the all-new, NVMe all-flash midrange E590 and E790 platforms. The VSP E590 and E790 are 2U platforms that bring enterprise-class features and benefits to customers of all sizes whose businesses are outpacing their existing infrastructure and need support for the latest technologies like NVMe to support their AI, ML and DevOps workloads.

While Gartner provides a summary of what they believe are the key features of each vendor’s product in these reports, I would like to summarize what I think are the features that distinguish the Hitachi VSP storage systems from other storage products

Centralized, Unified Management
Hitachi VSP is the only storage product which comprises a family of compatible software-defined storage solutions, from mid-range to scalable enterprise systems. All systems
run the same software based on Hitachi Storage Virtualization Operating System RF (Resilient Flash), so they all provide the same management, virtualization, migration, and data protection features. This means businesses can choose the right entry point based on size and price and expand as their needs grow. Other storage vendors may have 4 or more different operating systems depending on the products which they may have acquired along the way. This management can even be extended to other vendor’s storage when they are virtualized behind the VSP.

Storage Virtualization
Hitachi Vantara is the only storage vendors who can virtualize your existing storage by attaching it to the storage ports on the VSP and access it as though it is a VSP storage volume. The advantage of this approach is that all the advanced enterprise functions of the VSP storage controller is mapped across your legacy storage system. If you want your legacy storage system to have the latest functionality of a VSP storage system, just attach it to a VSP.

The VSP Storage system is the highest performance storage system available. It has been reengineered to take advantage of new NMVe and SCM architectures. The reengineering included the use of FPGAs, machine learning and redesign of caching algorithms and code paths and a new operating system SVOS RF where the RF stands for Resilient Flash. The proof of this is in the highest performance in the industry. The VSP E990 provides 64μs Minimum Response Time and 21M IOPS Performance! Other proofs are in the reduction of RAID rebuild times of SSDs to about 1/5 the previous time. For example, the rebuild of a 3.8 TB SSD goes from 4 Hours 50 Minutes down to 58 Min for a 3.8TB SSD in either RAID 5 (7D=1P) or RAID 6 (6D+2P).

Second, as a result of the reengineering, the efficiency of the storage systems has been improved so that we can provide a 7:1 Efficiency guarantee. Hitachi Vantara guarantees that eligible VSP 5000 series, VSP E series, VSP F series and all-flash configurations of VSP G series systems using compression, deduplication, thin provisioning and snap- shots will deliver up to 7:1 data efficiency savings. If you are unable to store the capacity that we guaranteed, Hitachi will deliver additional storage to fulfill this total efficiency guarantee when you use our data efficiency technologies. The Storage Operating System, SVOS RF, provides adaptive data reduction (ADR) which uses AI and machine learning to analyze incoming data and determine whether to apply inline or post-process deduplication at a volume level, making the system tunable to customized service level agreements and capacity needs. ADR not only gives you capacity efficiency with deduplication but also is smart enough to know what method to use to minimize the impact on performance.

The VSP 5000 Series and the VSP E Series provide you with a guaranteed 4:1 effective capacity on reducible data formats when you purchase effective capacity. The effective capacity guarantee is part of the Flash Assurance Program for VSP 5000 series models and VSP E series models and does not require a pre-assessment. The 4:1 effective capacity ratio applies to compression and deduplication technologies, which have been optimized by Hitachi Storage Virtualization Operating System RF (SVOS RF) to provide both efficiency and performance.

Hitachi storage systems are engineered to have no single points of failure and multiple levels of redundancy. We build them with the latest in proactive alerts to resolve issues before they become outages and conduct extensive quality assurance tests prior to release. Hitachi storage solutions successfully power data availability across thousands of companies, worldwide. The VSP family offers proven unparalleled reliability and performance. The VSP 5000 with its multi node architecture is capable of 8 9’s availability, 99.999999% availability! It is 100 times more reliable than the competition. Hitachi backs this up with a 100% data availability guarantee for Hitachi Virtual Storage Platform (VSP) family systems. This ensures that your company meets its information availability requirements. If there is a loss of availability of data caused by a malfunction of the storage system that makes it unable to read or write data, we will credit your company for replacement equipment.

For organizations that seek to enhance business continuity and increase availability beyond the
data center, we also offer Global- Active Device to provide active-active stretched clusters over local and metro distances up to 500 Kilometers. This approach enables high availability and continuous operations with zero RTO and zero RPO access to data to ensure critical business application availability and integrity. This is a capability which only a few high end storage vendors offer. Hitachi can offer this in some of their midrange storage systems as well as high end systems.

AI and ML
AI and ML are incorporated into our VSP storage systems, to offload a lot of the complex processes to select, deploy, and/or provision resources; to shorten the length of time needed to deploy proper IT services; to provide adequate security and compliance controls; and to address the lack of skills to support emerging technology such as AI and data science. This offloads a lot of the grunt work and skill sets which prevents IT from investing resources and talent into a modern Data Ops platform.  This starts with the architecture of our VSP storage controller and is operationalized by our Ops Center software which leverages the AL and ML in the storage controller and telemetry to analyze the storage path end to end from virtual machines to storage resources to predict and prescribe. Based on this analysis, Hitachi Ops Center can reduce management complexities to easily configure and align storage resources to business needs.

Plays well with others
Having a smart storage system is not very useful if you cannot tap into the “smarts”.  In order to leverage this smart capability and integrate it with DataOps data management, a REST API is built directly into our VSP storage controllers. REST stands for “representational state transfer”. APIs built according to REST architectural standards are stateless, which means neither the client nor the server need to remember any previous state to satisfy it. Stateless components can be freely redeployed if something fails, and they can scale to accommodate load changes. REST enables plain-text exchanges of data assets. It also makes it possible to inherit security policies from an underlying transport mechanism. REST APIs provide a simplified approach to deliver better performance and faster paths to develop, deploy, and organize. We increased the memory and CPU in the controller specifically to support the REST API running natively in the controller. This gives us the opportunity to not only connect with other vendor’s management stacks, but also apply analytics, machine learning and automate deployment of resources through REST APIs. This API enables our OpsCenter tools to analyze and automate not only our storage products but other vendor’s products that provide similar APIs. Or you can tap into this REST API from another vendor’s management stack. It also enable us to integrate with ITSM tools like ServiceNow.

Data security now permeates every facet of the storage infrastructure. Whether data is stored as a file, a block or an object, security must be enforced throughout the entire storage ecosystem. Hitachi Virtual Storage Platform (VSP) with our file and content offerings, provide the necessary components to address data security needs. An organization may need to address regulatory and compliance directives such as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS), Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA), or any number of regulations that affect parts or all of your data. VSP Storage systems provides all the security features like encryption, key management, authorization and authentication that other storage systems provide with a few extra levels of protection which are unique to the architecture of the VSP.
Separation of Control and data – VZSP storage systems, as far back as 1996, were designed with the separation of control data cache from user data cache. This separation enabled the ability to configure the data cache on the fly and eliminate the need to take the system down to remap the cache when the storage configuration was changed. This separation of control and data also made it possible to provide secure remote maintenance. If a remote service representative called into the storage system to diagnose a problem, he could only see the control data in the control data cache, and never see or touch the user’s data in the separate data cache. Other storage vendors store control information in their user data cache, which exposes their data to external service providers.
Multi-Tenancy – This key feature was designed into the architecture of our storage product. This was designed with storage virtualization in mind. Rather than using multiple storage systems for physical separation of resources, resource partitions allows for multiple users to safely coexist on a single storage system without the risk of activities in one region affecting performance, availability, or privacy in others.  This functionality leverages the virtualization capability of our VSP to implement consolidation strategies in a manner that enables secure access for applications, storage administrators, applications, and business units while supporting mainframe (VSP 5000 only) and open systems environments simultaneously.  Resource partitions can horizontally or vertically segment VSP storage systems enabling management flexibility, while leveraging existing directory service infrastructure (AD/LDAP) for management access control.
Data Retention Utility - By default, all volumes are subject to read and write operations by hosts. After provisioning your system, you can use Data Retention Utility to assign access attributes to volumes to protect them against read and write operations and prevent unauthorized access. By properly setting these attributes, you can prevent unauthorized access to data and avoid the possibility of data being damaged, lost, or stolen. DRU can be effective against ransomware attacks. DRU can be used to lock thin image copies of operational data. These tools secure communications to the VSP and prohibit any alteration to data by malicious encryption attempts.

In addition to the technology involved with the security described below, Hitachi Data Systems leverages the Hitachi Incident Response Team (HIRT)for up-to-date notifications of and responses to the latest attack threats throughout our systems.


Visit our Storage Web site for more information on the unique capabilities of the VSP family of storage products.